When NOT to Go to College

Wed 07 April 2010 | -- (permalink)

When I hear people using college admission rates as a measure of the effectiveness of public education reforms, or hear people say "you'll never regret getting more education", it doesn't sit quite right. So kudos to Ben Casnocha for pushing back against the rarely-questioned assumption that everyone should go to college.
Two groups that Ben argues should think twice before assuming that college is right for them:

  1. Underachievers (those graduating in the bottom 40% of their classes). Two thirds of them won't graduate from college even if you give them eight and a half years. I'm not saying we shouldn't let them try, but we also shouldn't be pushing people to spend years of their lives on a task that they're unlikely to complete.
  2. Self-Motivating Overachievers. Not all smart kids, just the ones who are organized and ambitious enough to find their own mentors and stick with their own projects. They could be working on startups while their peers sit through general ed. classes.